CHEF KEVIN KOHLER—whose Ramsey restaurant, Café Panache, is on NJM’s Top 25 list for 2015—loves nothing more
than preparing elaborate at-home meals for friends and
family. Luckily for him, his wife, interior designer Christy
Kohler, took his passion to heart and designed a chef-friend-ly, lovely-to-look-at kitchen that works ideally for entertaining. Their collaboration shines brightly every Christmas
Eve, when the t wo serve a traditional Seven Fishes Feast.
When the Kohlers bought their Mahwah home 18 years ago,
they were on a five-year plan, Christy says. They fully anticipated a move to a bigger home. But the couple, along with their
son Max, now 15, (Kevin has three grown children from a
previous marriage) soon discovered they loved
the town, the neighborhood and the sweeping
views from the deck.
The Kohlers decided to stay put and upgrade what was, admittedly, a builder-grade
home. Top priority: the kitchen. Christy
called in award-winning kitchen designer
Anthony Passanante of Anthony Albert
Studios in Waldwick, to help with the plan.
“I wanted it to feel lighter and brighter,” says
Christy, “with sleeker, clean lines.” She also
wanted open space for entertaining, where
guests and chef alike could gather.
The first task was removing a wall that
divided the kitchen from the family room
and replacing it with an I-beam for support.
That instantly opened the space, says Chris-
ty, and improved traffic flow and functional-
ity. Next, the couple had to make the tough
decision to eliminate two existing windows
to create room for a wall of appliances. “Ev-
erything Kevin needs is on one wall,” says
certain views and natural light.”
The enormous cooktop, a 48-inch Thermador with six
burners and a griddle, was key, says Passanante. “That was
the one thing that Kevin wanted.” Adds Christy, “It’s an
homage to the chef. It has commercial power. It’s as big as
the one he has in the restaurant.”
“I needed a cooktop that would perform,” Kevin says.
“This one heats up hot and fast.” Above the cooktop is a
massive, custom-designed, zinc-and-stainless hood, built by
metal artisan Chris Smith. This original work doubles as the
room’s focal point.
The layout facilitates the sort of juggling that characterizes a busy chef. “It was exciting to create a kitchen for a
It’s the ideal recipe for a holiday party: She designs, he cooks.
The result: an elaborate holiday spread for family and friends.
BY LAUREN PAYNE PHOTOGRAPHS BY LAURA MOSS
PERFECT PARTNERSHIP Christy and Kevin Kohler divide and conquer in the
new kitchen of their Mahwah home.